A fantastic new restaurant in Golders Green, excellent Italian food, the best I have tasted for a long time, lovely relaxing atmoshpere with live music.
38 North End Road, London NW11 7PT.
Tel: 020 8458 6344
Opposite Golders Green tube.
Cheap and cheerful pizza and pasta restaurant on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park. Friendly people, massive pizzas and noisy as hell on weekend nights. Pizzas cost about seven quid. Avoid the horrible pub next door though.
131 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3PX; tel: 020 7263 2114;
Nearest tube: Finsbury park
Caffé Caldesi is a great Italian restaurant (and cookery school) just off Marylebone High Street. They specialise in regional Italian food, so it isn't the sort of place to go for pizza and pasta (especially not pizza as they don't have any on the menu). The food I had when I went there was fantastic: Sardine alla Siciliana followed by Tagliata di Manzo.
The restaurant is relatively expensive with main courses costing about £15. A meal for two with wine would probably come to £70. Really fantastic
118 Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2QF;
tel: 020 7935 1144; fax: 020 7935 8832;
nearest station: Baker Street or Regents Park;
Don't let the fact that Michael Winner recommends it put you off.
It's a proper Italian family restaurant - and the food's nice enough - but the star of the show is the really lovely ice-cream in fantastic flavours. There's a gelateria in the back apparently but I tend to grab and go.
I've had their ice-cream at other places like the Garden Cafe in Regents Park, but don't think that it tastes half as good as when you are sauntering along the road in the sun licking an overloaded cone.
8 Haverstock Hill, opposite Chalk Farm tube
Tel: 020 7482 9000
A wonderful family-run Italian restaurant with the best priced lobster in London! All dishes are freshly made, and the daily specials, such as crab salad or lamb stew with polenta, are truly special. The atmosphere isn't fancy but respectable and traditional. There is a home-cooked quality to the food - nothing pre-fab and no shortcuts are taken. Top it off with the delightful wit of the proprietress and you have a London gem!
Paddington Street just off Baker Street.
Nearest tube Baker Street.
The caffeine fueled all night heart of Soho. It's a small place inside with a giant clanking old till and great coffee, best consumed at the outside tables where the full colour of Soho can been seen passing by.
22 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RF, near junction with Old Compton; 020 7437 4520
This is top-class Italian cooking, at very reasonable prices (£25 for three courses). The restaurant itself is somewhat understated (you might even walk past if you didn't know it was there), which could explain why it hasn't yet become unbearably busy. But it will.
The food is a delight: try the seafood ravioli for your second course and the either the sea bass or pork belly for your third. Actually, try anything - I can't imagine they cook anything less than perfectly.
Don't worry about leaving space for a pudding, though - eat one anyway, however fat you're feeling. And let the waiters talk you through the wine list - they'll pick the right wine for your meal.
21 Berners Street, W1T 3LP (opposite the Sanderson Hotel)
Tel: 020 7323 9123
Very good Italian restaurant that doesn't blow its own trumpet and so is relatively unknown. A bit of an oasis in the food desert of Westminster. Fantastic service (ask for any advice on the wine) and delicious food, but it's the cheeseboard in particular that keeps me coming back.
Quirinale, 1 Great Peter Street, SW1P 3LL. Phone 020 7222 7080. Nearest Tube: Westminster
A great authentic Italian restaurant, open late enough to get someting after the theatre.
Pizza's are good, as is the Talgiata di Manzo con rucola (Steak and Salad) and the Lobster Pasta, but the must try is Malleoredus - a Sardinian pasta dish, with pecorino and salami.
19 Canonbury Lane, London, N1 2AS; tel: 020 7226 9791
Nearest tube: Highbury
This family-run Italian restaurant has fantastic food is fantastic for reasonable prices. A two-course meal for two with a bottle of wine cost under £30. Suitable for children as the menu contains pizza and pasta dishes, and there’s a great selection for vegetarians.
It’s easy to get to by tube or bus, and a five minute walk from the Thames, which is ideal for an after-dinner stroll.
The venue is quite small and always busy so it can get quite loud, but there is seating outside which is perfect in the summer. The service is outstanding and staff are very friendly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
192-196 Jamaica Rd, London SE16 4RT;
tel: 020 7064 4631;
Two minute walk from Bermondsey tube station;
Local bus routes C10, 188, 47, 381 and P13
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